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How to Blur Your Background in a Teams Meeting
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Got a video call but your room isn’t appropriate for work? Did you know you can blur your background or change it entirely in Teams? Here’s how to make your backdrop look professional, without having to do any tidying.

How to blur your background in Teams

  1. Join your Teams meeting

  2. Select More Actions (three dots)

  3. Click Apply Background Effects

  4. Choose Blur (or any of the background options)

  5. Click Apply

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


Shortcuts in Microsoft Teams
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Shortcuts can be a great way to navigate Microsoft Teams more efficiently. Today we will show you how to find all the shortcuts in Teams in just one place. (Not including this article) 

The key is to remember just one simple shortcut that will give you access to all the rest:

Ctrl . - This will take you to the full menu of shortcuts inside of teams. That way you won’t have to come back to this article every time you want to find a shortcut.

Mac Users: You will simply use command in place of Ctrl, option in place of Alt, and return in place of Enter.

HERE IS THE COMPLETE LIST OF TEAMS SHORTCUTS:

General

Show keyboard shortcuts: Ctrl .

Show commands: Ctrl /

Goto: Ctrl G

Start new chat: Ctrl N

Open Help: F1

Zoom in: Ctrl =

Zoom out: Ctrl -

Reset zoom level: Ctrl 0

Go to Search: Ctrl E

Open Filter: Ctrl Shift F

Open apps flyout: Ctrl ‘

Open Settings: Ctrl ,

Close: Escape

Messaging

Go to compose box: Alt Shift C

Expand compose box: Ctrl Shift X

Attach file: Ctrl O

Search current Chat/Channel messages: Ctrl F

Reply to thread: Alt Shift R

Send (expanded compose box): Ctrl Enter

Start new line: Shift Enter

Meetings, Calls, and Calendar

Accept video call: Ctrl Shift A

Decline call: Ctrl Shift D

Start video call: Ctrl Shift U

Announce raised hands: Ctrl Shift L

Start screen share session: Ctrl Shift E

Go to sharing toolbar: Ctrl Shift Space

Accept screen share: Ctrl Shift A

Toggle background blur: Ctrl Shift P

Go to current time: Alt .

Go to next day/week: Ctrl Alt ➡️

View workweek: Ctrl Alt 2

Save/send meeting request: Ctrl S

Go to suggested time: Alt Shift S

Accept audio call: Ctrl Shift S

Start audio call: Ctrl Shift C

Toggle mute: Ctrl Shift M

Raise or lower your hand: Ctrl Shift K

Toggle video: Ctrl Shift O

Decline screen share: Ctrl Shift D

Admit people from lobby notification: Ctrl Shift Y

Schedule a meeting: Alt Shift N

Go to previous day/week: Ctrl Alt ⬅️

View day: Ctrl Alt 1

View week: Ctrl Alt 3

Join from meeting details: Alt Shift J

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


How to Set Priority Access in Microsoft Teams
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Setting aside time in your day to tune out distractions and quiet the noise of constant notifications can be a great way to boost productivity. However, if your boss needs to get a hold of you in these moments of zen, you can find yourself in a bad spot. Fortunately, Teams has a great solution for this. Even when you set your status to Do Not Disturb, you are able to make a list of people who can always ring your notification bell when needed.

How to set Priority Access list in Microsoft Teams:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select Privacy
  3. Click Manage priority access
  4. Add the desired list of priority users

If you are wondering how to set your Microsoft Teams status to Do Not Disturb, you can find instructions here.

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


How to Mail Merge in Microsoft Word
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Did you know you can send mass personal emails from within Microsoft Word? Many people CRM software for this function, but if mass communication is not a regular part of your job, Mail Merge inside of Word is a great option. Here is how to make multiple emails look personal to every recipient, without having to leave your document.

How to send mass email in Microsoft Word

  1. In Word, type or paste your email
  2. Select Mailings from the toolbar
  3. Select Start Mail Merge (drop-down menu)
  4. Click Email Messages from the drop-down menu
  5. Click Select Recipients to either upload your contacts or manually type in recipients
  6. Select Insert Merge Field and choose First Name or desired option
  7. Select Preview Results
  8. Select Finish & Merge then Send Email Messages
  9. Type a Subject Line
  10. Click OK to send via Outlook

Whether you are sending your message to a large list of people or just a handful of colleagues, it is always a good idea to make sure your grammar and spelling are on point. Microsoft 365 has a tool built into Word called Editor that will be your best friend in these situations. To learn more about Editor and how to set it up, see our previous WebTip here.

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


How to Customize Quick Access Toolbar in Microsoft Word
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Microsoft Word, like most Microsoft 356 apps, is more powerful than the average user often realizes or gives it credit for. Word is full of tools like Researcher to assist with case studies or essays, Accessibility Checker to make your documents accessible for people with disabilities, or Compare and Combine to compare two different versions of documents. Oftentimes these tools can just be tucked away in hard-to-find places within the app.

If you spend a lot of time searching through menus and tools in Word to find features that you use on a regular basis, we have a tip that should your life a little easier. Here’s how to create your own Quick Access Toolbar, so you can get to the tools and settings you use most often with just one click.

Add buttons to Quick Access Toolbar:

  1. Select the drop-down menu on Quick Access Toolbar

  2. Select More Commands

  3. Open the Choose commands from drop-down menu

  4. Locate and select the tab your button is found on

  5. Find your button and select Add

  6. Click OK

Now you have your most-used features one-click away at all times.

It should be noted that the Quick Access Toolbar can only be used for commands and not text styling options such as spacing values, indentions, or individual styles.

Remove button from Quick Access Toolbar

  1. Right-click button you wish to remove

  2. Select Remove from Quick Access Toolbar

Change location of Quick Access Toolbar

  1. Select Customize Quick Access Toolbar

  2. Choose between showing QAT above or below the ribbon

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


Amazon Sidewalk is Sharing Your Internet Connection with Neighbors
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

If you own Amazon products such as Echo devices, Ring Video Doorbells, Tile Trackers, or certain Alexa enabled lights and motion sensors, starting June 8th, 2021, Amazon is automatically opting you in to share part of your internet bandwidth with your neighbors. This is part of Amazon Sidewalk – An initiative to link all Amazon devices across the US, to allegedly help your devices work better inside and outside of your home, and help you locate lost items or pets. 

In a statement from Amazon, they describe the benefits of this service as follows,

“Amazon Sidewalk creates a low-bandwidth network with the help of Sidewalk Bridge devices including select Echo and Ring devices. These Bridge devices share a small portion of your internet bandwidth which is pooled together to provide these services to you and your neighbors. And when more neighbors participate, the network becomes even stronger.” 

To make this work as intended, Amazon needs as many people as possible to participate. You could reasonably speculate that this is why they are choosing to make people opt out of Sidewalk, rather than opt-in. This obviously raises some questions about security and privacy. Sidewalk connects to your home wifi and uses a very small fraction of your bandwidth for this service, so does this leave your home network more vulnerable?

Amazon has said that these networks are protected by multiple layers of security and encryption and that you won’t have access to your neighbor’s information, however, this information is vague and you wouldn’t be wrong for having some hesitations or concerns. Fortunately, it is easy to opt-out of Sidewalk from your Android or iPhone: 

How To Opt-Out:

  1. Open the Alexa app

  2. Open More and select Settings

  3. Select Account Settings

  4. Select Amazon Sidewalk

  5. Turn Amazon Sidewalk Off

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


How To Use Polls in Microsoft Teams Meetings
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Microsoft Teams has recently released a feature that allows meeting organizers or presenters to create polls prior to the meeting and launch them at any point. This can be before, during, or after your Teams meeting. When you send a poll, attendees receive a notification on their meeting screen, as well as in their chat window. 

Instructions for creating a poll:

  1. Open your calendar inside of Teams

  2. Select your meeting

  3. Open Chat with participants.

  4. Click (Add a tab) -  Forms - Add.

  5. Select Save. A new Polls tab will be added to your meeting.

  6. Click Create New Poll

  7. Insert your question(s) and options for answers.

  8. You can choose to either Share results automatically after voting and/or Keep responses anonymous.

  9. Finally, click Save to keep your draft until meeting time. 

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


Microsoft Teams Productivity Tip
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Has Microsoft Teams become a distraction?

You’re in the zone, knocking out a big project you need to finish, and… *ping*… that little red notification pops up on your screen. Of course, you’ll check it. One thing leads to another and suddenly you’re completely caught up on all the latest office activity whether it concerns you or not.

Today we are discussing how a critical tool can become a big distraction, and what you can do to change it. And no, I’m not talking about social media. I mean Microsoft Teams.

There’s a good chance you’re already using it, and we genuinely think you should be! When 90% of the top 100 companies in the world are using such an easily accessible tool, it’s at least worth a try. But while Teams is great for boosting productivity – especially when so many of us are working from home – it can also be a BIG distraction.

Luckily, there is an easy way to make sure your focus time is… well… focus time. Use the Do Not Disturb feature whenever you’re ready to block out the noise. 

Just click on your name and change your ‘available’ status to ‘do not disturb’.

There’s also a large library of productivity-boosting applications that work alongside Teams to give you a helping hand. To explore these, simply click the three dots on the left side of your screen to browse the apps that integrate with Teams and could make your life a little easier.

Remember, Teams is there to help you and your team be more productive. If it’s becoming a distraction, it’s time to take a different approach to using it. Only a few small tweaks can get you refocused and back on track. 

If you’d like assistance implementing Teams at your organization, reach out to us here.

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


Smart Lookup in Excel
Posted By: Ryan Richardson


If you find yourself spending lots of time in spreadsheets, Excel is probably your ‘go to’ application. There’s not much you can’t do with Excel, but with such a long list of powerful features, it can be difficult to keep track of all of them. 

One feature that can be particularly useful, is called Smart Lookup. If you need to research something in a particular cell, simply right click and select Smart Lookup. 

Excel will then launch a search engine powered by Bing right there in the app, allowing you to search the web for what’s in the cell. You can look up virtually anything, from definitions and Wikipedia entries, to financial data and statistics. 

Smart Lookup is constantly updating and improving via AI, improving its ability to give you the most relevant information over time.

To learn more about other unique tools that are included in Microsoft 365, contact us today.

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


Ransomware: Behind The Hack
Posted By: Ryan Richardson
 

We were able to to work with a Certified Ethical Hacker to give you a behind the scenes look at a real email ransomware attack from the perspective of both the victim and the criminal. At Runbiz, we know just how real of a threat ransomware is to our community and we believe in the importance of educating people, both inside and outside of our customer base. Best-in-class cybersecurity tools are absolutely essential, but they aren't nearly as effective if user education is neglected.

To learn more about what a Managed IT Services partner can do to make sure you are protected from these attacks, contact us

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


The #1 Way Cybercriminals Steal Data
Posted By: Ryan Richardson


Did you know that fake login pages have become one of the most successful ways for criminals to steal your personal data? One of our email security partners conducted a 
six-month study last year on this topic and identified more than 50,000 fake login pages from over 200 of the world's top brands. 

 

This is a shocking number. 

 

It was also reported that the most common recipients of phishing emails leading to fake login pages are employees in financial services, healthcare, technology, and government agencies. This is due to the large amount of sensitive data that these employees have access to. Cyber criminals view these credentials as a gateway to a wealth of valuable information. 

Fake login pages have been around for a while, but they have consistently been successful for two reasons:

  1. Messages that contain fake logins sometimes have the ability to bypass legacy email security technologies like secure email gateways and spam filters.

  2. The second reason is a psychological concept called inattentional blindness. This happens when someone is unable to notice an unexpected change in plain sight. Even people with regular phishing awareness training are susceptible to this.

Therefore, anti-phishing software that uses a combination of AI, deep learning, and the common sense of real people is essential in identifying and combating these threats. As a Runbiz customer, you are covered. If not, Contact Us to learn more about how a Managed IT partner can empower your organization to reach it's goals. 

 

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


This one thing prevents 99% of hacking attempts
Posted By: Ryan Richardson


Cybercrime is by far the biggest threat to US businesses at the moment, with thousands of successful hacks taking place every day. While there is no way to guarantee complete protections, this security method has been shown to be 99% effective. 

According to Microsoft, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is able to block 99% of hacking attempts. 

You might have seen multi-factor authentication when logging into any of your online accounts, whether it’s your bank or your social media. It asks you to confirm your identity with an extra step, such as generating a code on your mobile.

Using MFA is only a minor inconvenience, compared to the major hassle and  cost of a data breach.

To learn more about this or to discuss what other options are available, please get in touch with us today.

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


One Bad Email [The 1-1-1 Rule]
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Email is an essential part of our day-to-day lives, but it can also be one of the biggest threats to our organizations. 

Cybercriminals use email as a way into your systems, and they are getting smarter by the day.

Cybercrime is the number one threat to US businesses, and bad actors WILL take advantage of every mistake you make. 

The best way to describe the threat is with something called the one-one-one rule. It only takes one person to click one bad link on one occasion, and your entire business can be compromised.

Your staff send and receive hundreds, if not thousands of emails every week. So, it’s important to teach them to spot the common signs of fraudulent emails.

If you haven’t already, get in touch with us to find out how we can help your staff be more aware of email security.

Click here for our most recent #WebTipWednesday on How To Spot Phishing.


WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


Why Old Tech Isn't Just Slowing You Down
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

 

Technology never stops moving, and it can feel nearly impossible to keep up. While you shouldn’t feel pressure to always have the latest, greatest devices at your disposal, you should be leery of letting your equipment become obsolete. If you are a small to medium-sized business, you have a target on your back for cybercrime and you’ll find that your old computers might be causing more than the occasional speed issue. While we all wish our computer systems could age like fine wine, that is simply not the case. Older systems are much less secure and pose a real threat to your organization. In this post, we’ll provide 3 examples of how outdated devices could be putting you at risk, and we will show you what you can do to stay ahead of the game.

Why are old computers putting you at risk? 

Old machines may not be capable of running the latest security software, operating systems, and/or line of business applications. The inability to access the latest updates of these systems and applications will leave you vulnerable to malware and other malicious activity. 

1. Unpatched security issues 

Software developers are always working to uncover any vulnerabilities in the current version of an application or operating system. That is why software companies are constantly releasing new versions with a seemingly excessive amounts of numbers (“v. 11.7.2.32.2”). At the same time, cybercriminals are constantly working to discover those same vulnerabilities and exploit them. 

Unpatched systems continue to be one of the leading causes of unwelcome intrusions on organizations in the Texas panhandle and across the country. This is why patch management is a critical piece of the puzzle that your Managed IT provider should be uncompromising about.

2. Old software leaves data vulnerable

Most people have loads of documents and PII (Personally Identifiable Information) on their computers. This is like a gold mine to cybercriminals, allowing them to act under your name while conducting malicious activity, or even sell your information at a premium. 

In another scenario, bad actors might encrypt your data and charge a ransom. In these ransomware attacks, there is no guarantee that paying the ransom will get your data back. 

Keeping your software up-to-date helps minimize the likelihood of these unfortunate situations.

3. Cyber attacks are EXPENSIVE

Cybercrime is expected to cause $6 Trillion in damages in 2021 and climb to 10.5 Trillion by 2025. But when you consider what it means to have your data locked, the cost extends well beyond the ransom. According to this 2020 Ransomware Report, the costs of downtime are nearly 50x greater than the ransom requested. 

If your organization is subject to HIPAA compliance, there are also fines associated with not following patch management requirements. According to StorageCraft, nonprofit organization Anchorage Community Mental Health Services was recently hit with a fine of $150,000 by the Office for Civil Rights, for the nonprofit’s failure to apply software patches, resulting in a security breach. 


Sure.. New equipment costs money. But when you factor in the risks associated with not upgrading, the cost quickly becomes easy to justify. 

To keep your hardware and software evergreen, your IT provider must be aligned with your long-term goals, and capable of researching solutions, their impact on your business, and the time needed to complete the implementation. 

 

If you are looking to get more out of your IT investment, click here get in touch with us


How To Create a Great Password in 2021
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

It’s no secret that 2020 was a wild year for cybersecurity. Many companies were forced to move to remote working situations abruptly, and navigating the threats this presented was no easy task. One of the most basic and core components of a solid cybersecurity strategy is having a good password policy. This applies to every industry and every size of organization, but especially small-to-medium sized businesses who have a giant target on their back. SMBs are an attractive victim for cybercriminals because they typically have less resources dedicated to security. 

Today we will remind you about 3 key components to include in any strong password, but first I want to touch on an authentication trend we are seeing as we move further into 2021.

There is talk of Microsoft aiming to eliminate passwords all together in 2021, and according to the following statistics sited in Microsoft’s blog, they have good reasoning for this bold ambition:

  • On average, 1 in 250 corporate accounts are compromised each month.
  • Roughly 4 out of 5 cyberattacks are aimed directly at passwords.
  • Gartner Group research shows that 20-50% of help desk calls are for password resets.

So, it’s easy to conclude that passwords are in fact a major threat, not to mention a hassle. Microsoft has made some big strides in reaching their goal, with hundreds of millions of users already using their passwordless technology that authenticates with biometric information from fingerprint or facial ID scanning, much like we’ve been doing with our smart phones for quite some time. 

The thought of moving to a passwordless reality is exciting to many of us, but while most of us are still using these things every day, let’s make sure they’re as effective as possible.

Here are 3 key components to forming a strong password:

  1. Length: We recommend that your password be at least 10 characters long. This should be comprised of upper and lower-case letters, as well as special characters. An easy way to generate long passwords that are memorable, is using phrases (“humble, hungry, and smart”) or song lyrics (“Here Comes the Sun!”).

via GIPHY

  1. No Personal Information: This means avoiding things like birthdays, middle names, your kid’s name, etc.)
  1. Avoid repetitive characters (“rrrrr”) or sequential numbers (“12345”).

 

Protecting Your Password

Now that you have a good idea of how to create a password, be sure to protect it by using the following best practices:

  • Turn on Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for login.
  • Don't hand out your password—not even to trusted family members or computer support staff.

via GIPHY

  • Use a different password for each online account. That way, if one password is compromised, your other accounts are not at risk. It is especially important that you refrain from using your work password for personal services.
  • Use only secure programs when connecting to your work environment—programs that protect your password and your data.
  • If you must write down your password to help you remember it, it is better to write down a clue to jog your memory rather than the actual password. Keep it in a safe, secure place, where others cannot see it.

And possibly the most important tip…

  • Use a Password Manager. Create a ridiculously strong password for your password manager, then allow your password manager to create and store your passwords for all other accounts. Devices you use daily will store the log in credentials. Logging in on a device you have never used before will require you to look the password up in the manager.

As we all collectively wait for the day when passwords are no longer, let’s all do our part in keeping ourselves and our organizations safe. You can find more security tips like How To Spot Phishing in 2021 and How to Stay Safe on Public WiFi here on our blog.

  

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


How to Spot Phising in 2021 [3 Red Flags]
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Today we will look at how to spot phishing in 2021, unpacking some of what makes this year unique. 

In the year ahead, we are expecting to see a significant increase in a specific type of phishing, called Spear Phishing. They call it spear phishing because these attacks are highly targeted, and typically include wildly specific information or details about different individuals in an organization. 

The reason this is such a threat this year is because of advancements in the ability to automate these kinds of attacks. In the past, it took a lot of time and effort on the hackers’ part to pull something like this off, but now they have programs that can scan social media and company websites to pull together the information they need to be convincing. 

Side note: It is best practice to keep the amount of public information about your staff to a minimum on social media and websites. Do not publish email addressesand also evaluate how necessary it is to publish staff photos and job titles.This may vary by organization.

While the ability to automate spear phishing campaigns will cause a large rise in the number of attacks that will be circulating, it does come with one unexpected upside.The attackers are sacrificing some degree of quality for the sake of quantity. This means they should be easier to spot, despite how much they might know about your boss’s dog. 

So, let us review 3 of the most important things to look for to detect a phishing email:

  1. Check out the email domain name. Even if the name appears to be from someone familiar, go a step further and check the actual email address the message came from to make sure it checks out. Often there will be clues in the form of subtle misspellings or extra letters and numbers. 

  2. Sense of urgencyPhishing emails bait the hook with our emotions to get in the way of our common sense. Be leery of anything that targets a fear/panic response (like warnings of stolen information), tickles your curiosity, or sounds a little too exciting.

  3. Suspicious attachments or links: Phishing emails will always try to get you to go somewhere or do something. That might look like a page asking fologin information, or a malicious attachment they want you to download. Always check the URL of any website asking for your credentials. It might appear to be a Microsoft 365 login page, but the domain name might show something entirely different. Also avoid downloading anything you are not already expecting to receive from someone. If there is any doubt, call the person it appears to be from to ensure that it truly is from them.

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


How To Record Teams Meetings
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Today  we are looking at the recording feature in Microsoft Teams that allows us to record any Teams meeting or call. We can capture audio, video, and screen sharing activity in the cloud and easily share it with anyone in our organization. This is great if somebody is out of the office on the day of the big meeting, or if you want to go back and capture details from a call.  

 

Once you have joined your meeting or call, follow these instructions:

1.     To start recording, go to the meeting controls and select More options > Start recording.

a.     At this point, attendees are notified that you are recording with a banner across the screen, as well as a chat notification. 

2.     To stop recording, go to the meeting controls and select More options > Stop recording.

a.     The recording is then processed andwill appear inSharePoint or OneDrive depending on how the meeting was setup.Channel meetingssave toSharePoint, and all others save to OneDrive.

b.     You will also have access to the recordinginthe chat (and in some cases the channel) for up to seven days.  

 

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


Enhance your PowerPoint with 3D Models
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Today we are looking at how to create 3D models inside of your PowerPoint presentations with Office365. I think we all know that keeping people engaged during a PowerPoint can be challenging, so this is a great way to up your presentation value and hold your audience’s attention. Let's go ahead and open PowerPoint. 

To place a new model, click on the insert tab at the top, and select 3D models. 

You’ll see that there is a pretty extensive list of categories you can choose from. 

Once you insert your model of choice, it’s easy to resize and adjust. But in order to really add presentation value, you can add animation. To do so, simply select the animations tab, then under Emphasis Effects you can choose the type of animation you’d like to add to your model. 

It’s also worth noting that you can go to effect options to easily adjust settings such as the direction or intensity of your 3D animations. Click the dropdown to see what’s available. 


Dictate in Office365
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Today we're looking at another feature inside some of the apps in Office 365, called Dictate. Dictate gives you the ability to capture anyone’s speaking voice while converting it to text inside of a document. Whether you think better out loud and need to quickly put your thoughts down on paper during a brainstorming session, or you want to capture someone's dialogue in a meeting or a presentation, this is a great feature that can save you time and effort. It's also incredibly simple to use. 

When looking at your screen inside of Word, you will see a microphone icon on the toolbar that says “Dictate”. Simply click on the icon, and if you've never used Dictate, a popup will appear asking you to give Microsoft Word access to your microphone. Simply click “OK”. Now you can begin talking or recording whoever's voice you need to capture and watch it become text. 

Pro Tip: It helps to speak your punctuation out loud. For example, if you need a comma, say comma. If you need a period, say period. That's really the only part of this feature that remains a bit clunky.

While Dictate isn’t a shortcut to a fully polished document, I’ve found it to be a useful way to stay engaged in meeting conversations without scrambling to capture information you’ll need later.  


Firefox vs. Chrome for Privacy
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Today we will be comparing two of the most popular web browsers to see which one wins in the area of privacy. As you may know, privacy is a hot topic right now, which has been fueled by the popularity of documentaries like the Social Dilemma and the Great Hack, which bring up some valid points about data privacy and knowing how your data is being used. There are a variety of reasons to care about how cookies and trackers are keeping tabs on your web activity. One of the most compelling reasons for me personally, came from learning how different platforms were using my data to keep me in front of my screen on their apps.  

Whether you are making an effort to lower your screen time and fight social media addiction, or you are just genuinely creeped out by knowing that everything you do online is being tracked, being savvy about data-privacy will serve you well.

Before I get started, it’s important to note that cookies are not inherently bad. Sometimes they make our user experience very convenient (like they were designed to do). So don’t hear me saying that you need to set your browsers to total lockdown mode and block everything, because that might not be what you actually want! This is a personal, subjective decision for you to make, based on what you value. But back to the task at hand.

Today we are comparing privacy features in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Both of these browsers are secure, and do a great job of warning you if you attempt to a navigate towards dangerous websites or download bad files. Also, they both include a thing called “sandboxing”, which keeps other parts of your computer safe if you do happen to go to a bad site. But once we get into privacy, one starts to outweigh the other.  So here are a couple of features to consider:

Private Browsing: Both browsers include private browsing options, which will ensure that any search records, cookies, and browsing history will not be retained or available to other users of the device. Google Chrome call this “Incognito”, while Firefox just refers to it as private browsing. Firefox also has a separate app for your phone called Firefox Focus, which is a browser that is permanently set to this private browsing mode. 

But this next feature is what sets Firefox apart in the area of privacy.

Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP): This is a relatively new feature that was released as a default setting for all Firefox users across the globe. ETP blocks thousands of trackers from major social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook among other types of trackers.

That being said, by default, Firefox is a great browser for those concerned with privacy. And this without going in and adjusting any settings in the browser. That in itself points to the high value Mozilla places on privacy.

Google Chrome’s argument for the larger amount of data they collet is that they are doing this to enhance the user experience and improve their services. And this is true. They really do create a seamless and convenient web browsing experience for consumers.

If that convenience outweighs your data privacy concerns, then Chrome is a great way to go. However, if you are looking for more control over how your data is tracked and used, Firefox might be for you.


Ironscales Free URL Scanner
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

In this week’s Web Tip Wednesday, we are exploring Ironscales’ free URL Scanner that will tell you whether or not a webpage is safe. Ironscales is a company that we partner with to deliver best-in-class anti-phishing software. Ironscales has done an incredible job of keeping our customers safe from countless malicious emails, and the lost time and money that accompany these attacks. That being said, we are excited that they are offering this free tool that anyone can use.

The scanner is simple. Anytime you are on the fence about whether or not a link you received in an email is safe, simply copy and paste the link into the tool to find out. The results are usually instantaneous. This is something you can use for both your business and personal email. You are able to conduct 10 free scans each day.

Bad actors who conduct these phishing campaigns will typically include links that send you to a fake webpage that is intended to replicate a site that you would normally trust. The end goal is to get you to enter important information like log-in credentials, banking information, or a social security number. These spoofed webpages can often be convincing if you don’t know what to look for. This free URL scanner removes any doubt. Ironscales uses a combination of data they have on thousands of fake websites, as well as image processing and deep learning to determine whether or not the site is genuine.  If Ironscales can’t determine the validity of the link upon the first quick scan, they will conduct a deeper evaluation on the webpage and respond with the results via email.

Try it out here.


Avoid Tech Support Scams
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

 

Today I want to address something that has been going around for a long time now, and that being Tech Support Scams that are built by bad actors trying to impersonate Microsoft or Apple. A lot of times a user will click a bad link, and their browser will redirect them to a page that tells them their computer has been infected with some sort of virus. This warning appears to be from Microsoft or Apple, and will tell you that to get rid of the virus, you must call their tech support line immediately. This is all a ploy scare you into paying money for fake tech support.

When this scam appears, here are 5 common things you might see: 

  • Microsoft or Apple branding to make it appear legitimate
  • A Toll-Free telephone number
  • An error message
  • A message saying that things such as your Facebook login, credit card details email account logins, photos and documents are currently being stolen
  • "Security Warning" Pop-Up

While closing out your browser is a sufficient fix in most cases, we do recommend that you call us to run a diagnostic test on your machine to ensure that there is no malware. 

 

 


Set Your Web Browser for Security & Privacy
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Set Your Web Browser for Security & Privacy

Web browser default settings are designed to be secure. However, you may want to take additional precautions to protect your privacy and enhance security. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with web browser security and privacy settings and make use of those most appropriate for you.

Note: Some browser settings may interfere with the functioning of some systems via the web. Some systems work better with particular web browsers—and even particular versions of those browsers— than others.

 

General Recommendations

  • Keep your browser software up-to-date.
  • Review your browser's security settings and preferences.
  • If you do not need pop-ups, disable them or install software that will prevent pop-up windows. Pop-ups can be used to run malicious software on your computer.
Note: Many ITS administrative systems, as well as general websites, require pop-ups for all features to work correctly. Depending on the systems and services you access, you may need to have pop-ups enabled.
  • Install browser add-ons, plug-ins, toolbars, and extensions sparingly and with care. Browser add-ons function by allowing code to run on your computer. Add-ons from un-reputable sources can pose potential risks to privacy and data security.
    • Research the source of the add-on, plug-in, or extension. Download it from its original source (third-party developer) or from one of the major browser support websites. Most reputable add-ons are endorsed by the browser(s) that they can be used with.
    • Sometimes, you may visit a website that asks you to install a new add-on or plug-in so you can fully view the website. This can be risky, as the website may direct you to malware, rather than a legitimate add-on/plug-in.
    • Enable automatic updates to add-ons, plug-ins and extensions to ensure that they have up-to-date protection against potential security threats.
 

5 Signs of a Contact Tracing Scam
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

We can’t have National Cyber Security Awareness Month in 2020 without talking about new threats brought on by Covid-19. One of the main things that cybercriminals are doing to take advantage of this pandemic is impersonating health officials at the CDC, WHO, or a local health department. One of the main footholds they’ve found to take advantage of is contact tracing. They can conduct these scams over the phone, by email, or by text. It’s important to know that the chances of you getting a legitimate contact tracing call are high, and they serve a good purpose, so we don’t want to scare you off from complying with legitimate health officials. That being said, we want to inform you on what you should and shouldn’t expect from contact tracing efforts.

Here are 5 red flags that point to a scam:

1.     Asking for your Social Security Number

2.     Asking for money

3.     Asking for bank or credit card information

4.     Inquiring about citizenship/immigration status

5.     Sending a link via text or email. The only texts or emails you should be getting will simply be informing you that they will be calling.

However, you CAN expect them to ask for your name, address, or phone number. A real tracing call will focus on your symptoms and who you have been around. It’s also typical that real health officials will attempt to contact you three times.


Go on the Offensive with Huntress
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

The approach that cybercriminals are taking continues to evolve, so we are evolving with them. We’ve done a good job putting up multiple layers of defense to keep threats out, but no gate is perfect. That’s why there is a need to go on the offensive and hunt down potential malicious footholds that could already exist within your system. Huntress Labs provides that solution.  The Founder of Huntress formerly worked for the US Intelligence Committee in Cyber Operations where he noticed a need for this type of solution and has since branched out to fill the gap. We consider Huntress Labs to be an essential piece of the puzzle.

How it works:

1.     An agent is installed on workstations and servers to collect and send information about malicious mechanisms to the Huntress cloud.

2.     Data is analyzed by automated engines to highlight new or unknown threats.

3.     The Huntress team hunts through new and unseen threat mechanisms to investigate and confirm the presence of malicious footholds. The Huntress team is a live group of cybersecurity experts who help make these determinations.

4.     Once a threat is discovered, actions are performed to mitigate the threat, including removing the foothold and related artifacts.


Editor in Microsoft 365
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

This week we are looking at a Microsoft 365 extension called Editor. If you are familiar with the popular grammar checking tool, Grammarly, then Editor will look and feel remarkably familiar to you. However, if you are a runbiz™ customer, that means it is highly likely that you have a Microsoft 365 account that will give you access to premium features that you would have to otherwise pay to access in Grammarly.  

In addition to spelling and grammar, Editor is evaluating our text for the following:

-        Acronyms 

-        Clarity

-        Conciseness

-        Formality

-        Inclusiveness

-        Perspectives

-        Punctuations Conventions

-        Sensitive Geopolitical References

-        Vocabulary

Editor is available in the Windows Desktop and Online versions of Word and Outlook. 
You can download Editor here


Tell Me in Microsoft 365
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

This week we are exploring a feature that you have probably seen in some of your Microsoft apps, but haven’t really known what to do with it. This feature is called “Tell Me”. It’s the one with the little lightbulb icon next to it.

Look familiar?

This feature is actually incredibly helpful if you’re like me and don’t have the entire ribbon inside of Word or Excel memorized by heart. OR, if you’re just looking for a shortcut, this can definitely get you where you want to go a little quicker.

So whether you need to insert a table, change your font color, mark up a document, or whatever the case may be, just tell Microsoft by typing your request into the tell me field.

 

That’s it for this week. Short and sweet. Hopefully knowing what that little lightbulb thing is makes you a more confident and efficient Microsoft 365 user.

 


Shared Mailbox vs. Distribution Group: Which is right for you?
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Today I want to talk about the difference between a shared mailbox, and a distribution group in Outlook. It’s easy to get confused or mixed up about what the difference is and exactly what it is that you need to be asking for to accomplish your goal, so hopefully this brings some clarity to the subject.

To break down the purpose of these groups to their simplest form, distribution groups are used for sending notifications to a group of people, and shared mailboxes are used when multiple people need access to the same mailbox, such as a sales inbox or customer support email address.

If you’re looking for a way to simply broadcast information to a set group of people, whether it be a department within your company, or a group of employees that are at a certain location, a distribution group is most likely what you are looking for.

If you have, let’s say a sales team, or any group of employees within your company, that need the ability to access the same email address to monitor form submissions, sales inquiries, etc., a shared mailbox is going to be the answer.

It’s important to note that users of a shared mailbox can also have the ability to send emails from the shared email address, as long as the administrator has these permissions enabled.

That’s it for this week. I hope this gives you an extra bit of confidence to know what to ask for next time you need one of these groups set up.


 


How Big Is Data? Real World Comparisons
Posted By: Jon Michael Jones

Today we are making some real-world comparisons to give some perspective on how big data really is. A lot of people have very abstract, unclear perceptions of what a megabyte or terabyte of data really is. Here is a chart of comparisons from small to large:

1 Byte of data

1 grain of rice

1 Kilobyte

1 cup of rice

1 Megabyte

8 bags of rice

1 Gigabyte

3 container lories

1 Terabyte

2 container ships

1 Petabyte

Covers the island of Manhattan

1 Exabyte

Covers the UK 3 times

1 Zettabyte

Fills the Pacific ocean

When you begin to think about how much data you are holding in the palm of your hand with the latest, greatest iPhone, it becomes astonishing. A 512GB phone equates to over 1,500 container lories.

For more WebTips, subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

 


How Long Will It Take to Crack Your Password?
Posted By: Ryan Richardson


Today we are looking at how long it would take to crack your password depending on the length of the password, and the characters used. We’ve talked a lot in the past about how to create a great password and the importance of long passwords, but this will bring reinforcement to those points.   

Length of

Password

Only

Numbers

Mixed Lower & Upper Case Letters

Mixed Numbers, Lower & Upper Case Letters

Mixed Numbers, Lower & Upper Case, & Symbols

3

Instantly

Instantly

Instantly

Instantly

5

Instantly

Instantly

3 secs

10 secs

8

Instantly

3 hours

10 days

57 days

10

40 secs

169 days

1 year

928 years

12

1 hour

600 years

6k years

5m years

15

46 days

28m years

1b years

2t years

18

126 years

1t years

374t years

1qt years


Share Computer Audio in Zoom and Teams
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

How to share your computer audio in Zoom or Teams

In today’s WebTip, we will continue with the video conferencing theme and show you how to share your computer audio in during the meetings. We all know that Zoom and Teams are a great way to communicate and meet with remote collogues, but there are many times where you want to add to your presentation value by sharing a video or an audio clip. Setting this up is actually much easier than you might think.

Teams:

1. Select the Share Screen icon

2. Check Include System Audio

Zoom:

Select Share Screen icon

2. Check Share Computer Audio

In both Teams and Zoom, remember to check the system/computer audio box before selecting the window you would like to share.


Changing Audio Settings in Zoom & Teams
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Due to the increase in video conferencing, our technicians have been getting a lot of question on how to change audio settings during Teams or Zoom video conferences. Below are simple instructions on how to change audio inputs and outputs on both platforms:

In Teams, whether you are on an audio call or a video call, the process for accessing your device settings is the same:

-       Hover over the 3 grey dots for More Actions

-       Select Show device settings

-       Under the Speaker drop down menu, select your preferred audio output device.

-       Under the Microphone drop down menu, select your preferred audio input device.

 

In Zoom, the process is very similar. To get to your audio inputs:

-       Click on your profile picture

-       Select Settings

-       Select Audio

-       Under the Speaker drop down menu, select your preferred audio output device.

-       Under the Microphone drop down menu, select your preferred audio input device.

Zoom also gives you the ability to test your speaker and your mic inside the audio settings window.


How Duo is Securing Remote Access
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

The demand for remote work has gone up significantly in recent months, but even before the dramatic push from COVID-19, remote work had increased 44% just in the last 5 years. Historically, off-site workers have presented security challenges to IT Teams because of employees using their own devices or using RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) to connect to another computer remotely. These things have the potential to be problematic when users on their own devices are running outdated operating systems that have a greater chance of being compromised, or when companies unknowingly leave RDP client ports open to the internet, leaving themselves vulnerable to attackers.

Cybercriminals have stolen and sold around 250,000 RDP server credentials in an underground marketplace.  

To address each of these threats, we use a security tool called Duo. Duo provides user-friendly 2FA and allows us to enable it on Remote Access Terminal Servers to ensure that whoever is accessing your servers is supposed to be. You can even enable 2FA on individual workstations.

With Duo, rather than scrambling to punch in a number code before it times out, you can use a duo push and simply hit the green checkmark. This is a much faster, easier way to authenticate.

Another way Duo helps us avoid vulnerabilities in remote workers is with Endpoint Visibility and Device Access Controls. This allows us to check every device being used for the latest software, and ensure that those devices have security features, like fingerprint identification or Face-ID turned on. Admins can use endpoint controls to warn users and block any device that doesn’t meet your minimum-security requirements.

These are just a couple of ways that Duo is making remote work safer for a mobile workforce.


How to Sanitize Your Electronic Devices
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Many of us are either back in the office or plan to be soon, and as some of us go back, it’s important to take steps to make sure we do so safely. One way of doing this is by making sure that our devices stay clean, and unlike other surfaces, we can’t just douse them in Lysol. Moisture in general doesn’t have the best relationship with computers. So, here are a few simple steps on how to and how not to clean your computers, keyboards, mice, tablets, and phones:

 

·      First, make sure your device is unplugged, or if it uses batteries, take the batteries out.

 

·      Use 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes or Lysol and Clorox disinfecting wipes to wipe down non-porous surfaces.

 

·      If you don’t have wipes accessible, you can use a lent free cloth that’s been sprayed with 70% isopropyl alcohol. It’s important to note that you should not spray the rubbing alcohol directly onto your devices, because there is a chance it could get into the nooks and crannies, possibly resulting in a short circuit.

 

·      When cleaning a keyboard, turn it upside down to minimize the possibility of liquid getting under the keys.

 

·      After wiping down your device, wait 5-10 minutes to plug it back in or put in the batteries.

 

What not to do:

 

·      Never use bleach or aerosol sprays

·      Avoid abrasive cloths, towels or paper towels

·      Do not spray clearers directly onto the device

 


Microsoft Office Lens
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

 

 

Continuing with the theme of Microsoft 365 functionality, today we’re checking out Office Lens, an app designed for your iOS or Android Device. It’s an easy way to capture meeting notes from a whiteboard or scan in documents and receipts on the go. There are plenty of other apps on the market that do similar things, but the main appeal with Office Lens is that it integrates seamlessly into your Microsoft 365 accounts. You can instantly turn your photos or scans into word documents, PowerPoint Files, or PDF documents.

Once you capture a picture of a document to scan it in, then the app converts the image to text and preserves the formatting of the document by using optical character recognition (OCR). Once the document is converted you can go in and edit just as you can with any word doc.

You can also use Lens, as I mentioned earlier, to capture a whiteboard. You can capture the whiteboard from any angle, and Lens will automatically clean up the photo and enhance the image to appear as a digital whiteboard.

To download, just go to your phone’s app store and search Microsoft Office Lens, or you can search Microsoft Office and download the new all-in-one Office app, which is full of great features.


Microsoft FindTime for Scheduling Meetings
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

 

This week we’re discussing FindTime, a feature that is available in Microsoft 365 (formally known as Office 365), that is a huge help when it comes to scheduling a meeting with a group of co-workers.

The process is simple:

  1. Choose your attendees
  2. Select a few times that could potentially work for the meeting
  3. Attendees vote on their preferred times

Your attendees will see a visual summary of voting to date to help them make the best decision.

Once everyone votes, FindTime automatically sends out the meeting invite on your behalf based on the consensus.

This tool is also very flexible because it doesn’t require your attendees to have FindTime installed, or even use Microsoft 365. All the recipients need is an email address and internet access for the tool to work.

It can easily be installed at findtime.microsoft.com.


Zoom vs. Microsoft Teams for Video Conferencing
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

This week we are comparing Zoom video conferencing to the video conferencing feature in Microsoft Teams. Both platforms share helpful features, such as the ability to raise your hand, chat in a sidebar during the conference, and use backgrounds or background blur. However, there are still specific situations where either Zoom or Teams may be a better fit for a specific situation. For that reason, many organizations use both tools, rather than committing to one or the other. Let’s take a look at what these differences are and when they should be considered.

If you’re planning a meeting with a group exceeding 9 people, Zoom might be a better platform. The main reason Zoom is preferred in larger meeting scenarios is because it allows you to view all participants' video feeds in a gallery view, showing up to 49 people per page, wherein teams, you’re only able to see the 9 most active participants at a time.

Given its ease of guest access and wide familiarity, Zoom can also be a good choice for external use with customers or vendors. However, there are certain scenarios where the security and compliance offered by Zoom may not be up-to-par.

Anytime you discuss confidential information, personal health information, or have compliance standards that you need to meet, Microsoft Teams provides the security and compliance that you need. For these reasons, Teams is a safe bet for internal meetings within departments. 

One final consideration is time limits. Any time you expect a meeting to exceed 40 minutes, Teams will be preferable. Zoom has a 40-minute time limit on the free version of their software, whereas Teams has no time limit and is included in your 365 license as a runbiz™ customer.

It’s important to remember that Teams is much more than just internal audio and video calls. You can learn more about the robust functionality of teams and access our self-implantation guide at www.run.biz/teams.


Datto Workplace vs. Dropbox
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

While many businesses are continuing to work remotely, finding the most functional, secure way to share files with co-workers is key. There are many file sharing solutions out there, but not all file-sharing and storage is created equal. If you are a business, it is critical that your solution is business-class. So, what really is the difference between the free versions of popular tools like Dropbox or Google Drive and a business-class solution like Datto Workplace? Is it really worth it? Today I’ll highlight the three major differentiators, specific to what Datto Workplace offers.

Ransomware Detection:

Workplace uses advanced algorithms to detect signs of ransomware infections. Once detected, the affected machine is immediately quarantined, which prevents the spread of the ransomware. Admins are immediately notified and are able to easily revert the affected files to their state prior to the incident.

Permission Levels:

Datto Workplace gives you individual and group-based granular control over access to data with various permission levels. This also means control over the user’s ability to reshare within the team or to create public shares.

Continuity and Compliance:

Workplace guarantees over 99.99% uptime alongside HIPAA, GDPR, and SOC 2 compliance, meaning Datto Workplace has a proven track record of keeping business data safe and available 24/7.

These are just a few of the main considerations on why using a business-class file, sync and share solution like Datto Workplace is truly worth it.

 

 

 

 


Microsoft Teams (included with Office 365)
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

 

Work remotely without feeling remote

Today, employees spend 80% of their time engaging with coworkers, and 43% of American workers work remotely at least some of the time. There’s a tremendous opportunity to boost productivity in your business with modern workplace tools that streamline collaboration. In fact, with small businesses increasingly relying on non-traditional employees and remote workers, it’s essential to embrace new teamwork tools to remain competitive.

As the hub for teamwork in Office 365, Microsoft Teams brings all of your employees’ collaboration tools together in one place, making it easier for people to work together and reach their goals more rapidly, whether you have 3 employees or 300.

Microsoft Teams is included in Office365 with no additional licensing cost. We are committed to doing all we can to empower you with the technology you need to thrive, even in the midst of this pandemic. Rollout teams to your organization.  

 

Chat from anywhere

Share your thoughts and personality with teammates in one-on-one chats, or group chats. Add some personality by using gifs, emojis, and stickers.

 

Meet from anywhere

Instantly go from group chat to video conference with the touch of a button. Teams of any size can meet in one place, no matter how much distance there is between you.

 

Create customized channels

Setup custom channels to collaborate within a specific department or about a certain topic.

 

Integrate with your calendar

Teams integrates seamlessly with your calendar and allows you to join meetings from the app.

 

 


COVID-19 Planning for runbiz™ Customers
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

A message to all runbiz™ Managed IT Services Customers: 

Some customers have started engaging us to assist with COVID-19 preparations. Each customer’s current capability and requirements to operate remotely varies greatly.

While all customers have disaster recovery plans, most don’t have continuity plans to specifically address a quarantine. To effectively implement a solution within a short timeframe, runbiz™ must have clear and realistic expectations from each customer.

If you have remote access in place for users today, rolling it out to 1-2 more users in a limited capacity is realistic. However, creating remote access for a large group or an entire organization is not realistic. 

Here is an outline of considerations to assist you in creating a realistic continuity plan:

  1. Communications Plan – this is a critical element of every incident response plan.
    1. Phones – Contact phone vendor to determine call routing capabilities of your phone system. If runbiz™ is your phone vendor, we will address this in your plan. 
    2. Email – Many users have access to their email outside work. Take extra care to determine who has/needs access. Have users who won’t have access turn on the Out of Office assistant before they leave. 
    3. Current remote access – Do you have Virtual Private Network (VPN), Terminal Services, or other Remote Access in place?
    4. Notify Employees
    5. Notify Customers
    6. Notify Vendors
    7. Print hard copies of key contact lists with cell phone numbers.
    8. Create an employee phone tree for critical communications.
  1. Physical Limitations – Identify any physical items needed to complete critical processes.
    1. Printed documents, manuals, instructions, etc.
    2. Bank authentication token devices
    3. Checks, check stock, mail, etc.
  1. Database Application Capability – Determine which applications and processes are essential. Which are currently configured to operate remotely? Standard priority of essential processes are:
    1. Phone and Email Communications
    2. Payroll
    3. Accounts Payable
    4. Line of Business Systems
    5. Management Information Systems
  1. Remote File Access – Which files, folders, drives are essential? Are they currently remotely accessible?
    1. Terminal Server?
    2. Datto Workplace?
  1. Identify Key Roles / Users
    1. Role
    2. Name
    3. Location
  1. Acceptable Workarounds for Complex Processes - If functionality exists allowing most employees to work remotely, having specific employees go on-site to complete certain processes such as payroll may offer a realistic alternative to retooling these complex processes.

To move forward, please email help@run.biz with the subject line of COVID-19 PLAN and include the following essential information:

  • Clear and realistic list of essential applications
  • Files that need to be remotely accessed by a list of key users
  • Timeline for completion

We’ve set up a separate process to address these as professional service projects. We believe we have the resources and capabilities to deliver your essential requirements in a reasonable timeframe with your cooperation. Once we’ve received your requirements, a runbiz™ project resource will be in touch to clarify and schedule your project. 


Avoiding Coronavirus Phishing (COVID-19 Email Scams)
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

 

If you check your inbox, you’ll likely find emails about Coronavirus from nearly every company that has your email address. We are living through a season where people are desperately searching for information, and unfortunately, cybercriminals are doing all they can to take advantage of this. 

 

There has been a large circulation of phishing emails claiming to be from reputable sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Often times, these emails use attention grabbing hooks like “Vaccine Now Available” or “New Confirmed Cases in Your Area”. Cybercriminals have also taken into consideration the organizations facing potential quarantine situations, making this a perfect time to fake an email from Human Resources. So, while there are plenty of reputable organizations that could be sending legitimate updates, here are a few ways to separate fact from fiction:

 

1.     Ask yourself if the sender would have access to your email address for any reason. If you haven’t signed up for communication from the CDC or World Health Organization, you shouldn’t be receiving email from them.

 

2.     Before clicking on a link, hover over it to see the full URL address. If you are unsure about the validity of the link, Google the organization it appears to be from and make sure the URL address lines up with that company’s actual website. Also, keep your eye out for any spelling mistakes as this is a dead giveaway.

 

3.     Don’t open attachments from anyone you don’t expect an attachment from. Any major organization that would be sending status updates on coronavirus will NOT send attachments in their email. If the attachment comes from someone you trust, double check the sender’s email address and call them if you are unsure. It’s important to note that attachments in phishing emails may contain malware.

 

All of the standard phishing prevention measures apply. For more on the general topic of phishing, check out our WebTip on how to spot phishing in 2020.  

 

For more on cybercrime surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, here is a helpful article from the World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/about/communications/cyber-security

 

With this message, we don’t want to add to the noise or the fear. This is just a reminder to use extra caution in this time of heightened vulnerability.


Microsoft To Do in Office 365
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Many of you, particularly if you are a runbiz™ customer, have Office 365. We’re all familiar with the standard apps included in Office such as Outlook, Word, and Excel, but 365 offers a powerful collection of tools that reaches far beyond spreadsheets and mail merge. There are 28 apps included with Office 365, and while we won’t cover all of them, I am going to take the next few episodes to share some of our favorites with you.

We’ll start with a productivity tool that I use more than any other app, Microsoft To-Do.

Microsoft To Do gives you the ability to easily create and organize your tasks by sets of default and customized lists.

My Day: This is a list of all tasks that you need on the docket for the current day. Tasks from any list can easily be added to My Day, by selecting the sun icon.

Important: These are top priority tasks that need to be kept at the front of your mind. Any task can be marked as important by selecting the star icon on the right side of the task.

Planned: In the planned section, you can view every task that has a date and time associated with the task.

Assigned to You: Assigned to You lists all tasks that you’ve been marked as a resource for within Microsoft Planner.

Flagged Email: Anytime you receive an actionable email, you can simply flag the email in Outlook, then To Do automatically creates a task for it.

Tasks: This is a collection of every task that you have manually created within To Do. When it’s time to zoom out for a 30,000 ft view of all work, this is the place to do it.

In the section below the default set of lists, you have the ability to create your own customized set of lists to better segment your work. If you are collaborating with your team on a set of tasks, you can share a list with other users. Anytime tasks are added or marked off of a shared list, it will sync across all other users’ apps.

To Do also offers a helpful set of options within each task.

-       Add steps to organize the completion of the task

-       Add tasks you the My Day list

-       Set reminder notifications

-       Add a due date

-       Set a task to repeat daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly

-       Attach files

-       Add notes

Microsoft To Do is available on as a mobile app, desktop app, and web app, and syncs between all platforms.


How to Stay Safe on Public WiFi
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

This week we are discussing 3 ways to keep you AND your business safe when connecting to public WiFi networks. It’s common for many of us to catch up on work in coffee shops, libraries, or airports, but there are significant risks involved when doing so.

1.     If you are browsing the web, always ensure that the website you are accessing is encrypted. The easiest way to do this is by checking the beginning of the web address for “https”. There should always be an “s”. If the web address begins with “http”, the website is not secure. However, if you are dealing with a secure site, any information you share with that website will be encrypted as it travels for your computer to their server. If the website is NOT secure, exit the website and avoid sharing any information.

2.     If you are using public WiFi on a regular basis, it is a good idea to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN). The purpose of a VPN is to encrypt all traffic between your computer and the internet. You can think of this as driving through a warzone in a tank. There are also VPN options available for your phone. This will encrypt any information you send through mobile apps.

3.     It would be wise to disable the auto-connect function on your phone or laptop. This will prevent your phone from automatically connecting to unsecured, public WiFi networks without your knowledge. Follow the link below for instructions on how to disable this feature.

How to disable auto-connect to public WiFi on Windows, iPhone, and Android:

https://www.lifewire.com/avoid-automatic-connection-to-wifi-networks-818312


Printer Issues? Try this..
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

In this Web Tip Wednesday we are showing you a great first step in troubleshooting your printer. This is not a cure-all, but it can fix many of the issues you may be experiencing.

For Windows 10, follow these steps:

  1. Open the start menu
  2. Type "Printer"
  3. Select "Printers & Scanners"
  4. Select correct printer
  5. Manage
  6. Run the troubleshooter
  7. Apply fixes

For Windows 7:

  1. Open the start menu
  2. Type "Printer"
  3. Select "Devices & Printers"
  4. Right click on the correct printer
  5. Troubleshoot
  6. Apply fixes

If you are still experiencing issues, call runbiz™ support.

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


How to fix Outlook "Working Offline" Issue
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

One of the issues our clients frequently call about is Microsoft Outlook showing to be offline. This is shown by an indicator at the bottom of Outlook. The reasons this can happen vary, but the solution is simple.

At the top of your window, choose the Send / Receive tab, then click the “Work Offline” button. Then you will see it reconnect back into the exchange. Most of the time, this will do the trick.

If it’s still failing to connect, it is possible that your .ost file is corrupt, or that you’re not online or connected to your network. At this point, call us and we’ll get you squared away.

 You also may be wondering, why does a work offline mode even exist?

This comes in handy a road trips or plane rides. Anywhere you don’t have connectivity. You can work offline and Outlook will store your data in an offline file location. Now when you reconnect to the network, Outlook will go back online and send and receive all your mail. Occasionally “work offline” gets stuck and that’s a common reason we have to come back and re-connect manually.


How to Generate Strong Passwords
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Why You Need a Strong Password

Choosing a strong, secure password reduces the risk that your password will be guessed or stolen. A stolen password can allow someone to send emails in your name, change your personal information, or publish inappropriate or illegal material. It could also be used to break into company systems. 

A strong, secure password is good for you and your biz!

Guidelines for Creating a Secure Password

When you change your password your new password may be checked for strength.

Your new password must:

  • Use ten or more characters.
  • Have at least three of these:
    • Lowercase letters
    • Uppercase letters
    • Numerals
    • Punctuation

And must not:

  • Be a word—or contain four numbers in ascending or descending order (for example, 12345 or 8765).
  • Use parts of your name.

Use the first letters of the words in a phrase to make a strong and memorable password. For example, "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth" becomes 4S&7yaofb4th.

Select a unique password for business use. Do not use your business password outside of work for other computing accounts. Runbiz uses strong encryption methods to protect your password. If you use that same password for services that do not offer such protection, you put your business password and account at risk.


How To Spot Phishing
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

What Is Phishing?

Phishing is an online attempt to gain sensitive information (login info, credit card details, money, etc.). Criminals use malicious email to gain access to your personal and financial information, as well as sensitive business information and resources. They also use these to infect computers with ransomware. Malicious email often uses urgent language, asks for personal information, and has grammatical, typographical, or other obvious errors.

Phone calls can also be used for fraudulent purposes. See Phone Scams and Voice Phishing (Vishing) for more tips on avoiding phone phishing. 

How to Avoid Getting Caught in the Phishing Net:

  • Always be suspicious of high emotion emails  Phishing emails bait the hook with our emotions to get in the way of our common sense.   Anything that targets a fear/panic response (like warnings of stolen information), tickles your curiosity, incites excitement (like "You've won!), and usually offer a "Click Here" option for a quick convenient solution.  When in doubt, don't.
  • Check for spelling and grammar mistakes  Emails that are swimming upstream are usually from outside the US and are riddled with spelling mistakes, bad grammar and phrases Americans usually do not use.
  • Look but don't bite  Hover your mouse over any links embedded in the body of the email (see example below).  If the link address looks weird, don't click on it.  
  • Check out the signature  Lack of details about the signer or how you can contact the company strongly suggests a phish.  Legitimate businesses always provide contact details.
  • Don't give up personal information  Legitimate banks and most other companies will never ask for personal credentials via email. 
  • Don't trust the display name  This fraudulent email, once delivered, appears to be from a legitimate company because most user inboxes only present the display name.  Don't trust the display name.  Check the email address in the header From: - if it looks suspicious, don't open the email.  

Example:  Display name is AIG Direct, but the domain name refers to the email server and @rixoblalkangrill.com does not match the company it claims to come from. 


Example of a suspicious email 

 Related image

Clues that indicate this email is fraudulent:

  • It directs you to a non-business website (URL - the webpage address). Hover your mouse over the link to see the actual address you'll be directed to. In this case, the URL (webpage address) is clearly not a legitimate amazon web-page. Don't click the link if it looks wrong to you. (This screenshot does not show that the URL appears in the lower left corner of the window. Different email programs may show the URL in different locations.)
  • It asks you to validate your account or it will expire.  Reputable companies will never ask you to validate or verify your account. 
  • The "From" address is fake. Even though the message above looks it came from an Amazon address, it didn't. Beware, though, because criminals can forge the "From" addresses and actually hack into an emails. If it looks suspicious, make a phone call!

 

Still Have Doubts?

If you aren't sure, contact the Runbiz Service Portal.

 

If You Get Caught

If you gave personal information in response to a phishing email or on a suspicious webpage, your account may be compromised.

 


How to Share Your Calendar in Office365
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

In this week’s WebTip, we take you step by step through sharing your Office365 Calendar with team members at your organization.

Sharing your calendar with colleagues is simple:

  1. Select Calendar
  2. Select Home – Share Calendar
  3. Enter the name of the person you wish to share your calendar within the “to” field.
  4. Specify the amount of detail you would like to share in the “Details” drop-down menu.
  5. Once your colleague receives the sharing invitation, they will select Open this calendar.

To customize calendar sharing permissions:

  1. Select Calendar
  2. Select Home – Share Calendar
  3. Under the permissions tab, make any desired changes.

The Problem With Long File Paths
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

 

This is a topic that is not often discussed, but the length of your file path could be causing major issues with your files. Different teams have different folder structure methods. Some don’t mind a lengthy stack of documents in a single folder, and some like to make a sub-folder for nearly every document. Regardless of how you organize your work, the length of your file paths is a non-negotiable factor to keep in mind.

Many users are unaware that a file name can’t exceed 256 characters, in part because Windows allows you to save these long file names without an outright error message. 256 characters may seem unrealistically long, but keep in mind that a file name is made up of the full folder structure that leads to that file. This means excessive use of sub-folders and long file names is something we have to be cautious of.

Issues caused by long file paths usually look like trouble opening, saving, or moving files.
Some file sync applications will also reject these files when you attempt to sync them.

Here are a few tips on preventing this issue:

  • Avoid spaces, and unique characters when possible
  • Use abbreviations that are easy for your staff to understand
  • Re-organize folder structure to cut down on the number sub-folders.

It can all be summed up in 4 words; The shorter the better.


Is Your Holiday Out-of-Office Reply a Security Risk?
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

 

With Christmas and the New Year around the corner, many of us will be taking time off to be with family.   While there are many things to love about this time of year, we must also be aware that we are in prime season for phishing and impersonation. This is in large part due to the abundance of information found in out-of-office replies.

 

Many times, with good intentions, we include the dates we are leaving and returning, contact information for a supervisor or co-worker, where we are going, and even a mobile number where we can be reached. Sometimes the best intentions can turn around to bite you. These pieces of information can be used as leverage for phishing and impersonation attempts.

 Here are a few tips for writing a safe out-of-office reply:

  • Instead of using exact dates, use broader verbiage such as, “early in January” or “later this week”.
  • While it’s okay to mention that you can be reached by mobile, don’t give out your mobile number.
  • Don’t include details of where you are going over the break.
  • Avoid providing insight into the chain of command
  • Set a separate automatic reply for anyone outside of your organization. 
  • Set replies to only go to senders in your contact list. 

The key is to avoid oversharing.

 

Following these best practices will help your organization stay safe and worry-free as you enjoy the holiday season. 

Merry Christmas from our team at runbiz™.


How to Create a Folder in Outlook
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Utilizing folders in Outlook can be a great way to stay organized with your emails, calendars, tasks, and contacts.

For runbiz™ customers specifically, creating a folder designated for support requests is a great way to keep track of your ticket correspondence.

To add a folder, do the following:

  1. In the left pane of Mail, Contacts, Tasks, or Calendar, right-click the location where you would like to add your folder, then click “New Folder”.

  2. Enter a name for your new folder, then press Enter.

Cloud Considerations: Continuity
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

If you joined us last week, you learned that we greatly emphasize the value of continuity. Just to briefly review, cloud solutions can change the downtime conversation of from days and weeks to seconds and minutes. This is a game changer when your server room is subject to natural disasters, fires, floods, busted pipes and lightning strikes.

This is made possible by a concept called high availability, which without getting into too much technical jargon, is the ability to withstand all outages, and keep all of your critical business applications running. This is usually offered at an agreed level of uptime.

Many times, uptime is measured as “three-nines”,” four-nines”, and “five-nines”.

Three-Nines = 99.9% uptime guaranteed

Four-Nines = 99.99% uptime guaranteed

Five-Nines = 99.999% uptime guaranteed

To put that in perspective, five-nines guarantees a maximum of 6.05 seconds of downtime per week, or 72.6 seconds of downtime per year.

If you are hosting exclusively on-premise and your servers are subject to a disaster, you have to allot time for ordering, receiving, configuring and installing a new server, which is what drives you up into days and sometimes weeks before recovering.


Cloud Considerations: Cost
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

When evaluating the pros and cons of moving to the cloud, one of the obvious considerations will be the cost of on-premise vs. a cloud hosted data center. There are almost limitless variables that will make the cost of ownership unique to each business, but here are some high-level considerations.

On-premise hosting comes with large up-front fees for server hardware, where-as the cloud is going to be a recurring monthly cost where you are paying as you go. A less obvious factor is that on-premise hosting does come with its own set of recurring costs, such as the power usage of on-premise servers, as well as the physical office space they take up.  Depending on the size of your organization, this can be significant.

However, the main cost consideration that I want to address is downtime. This can be brought about by natural or man-made disasters, fires, floods, busted pipes, etc. (The list could go on and on). And how much does downtime really cost? The answer might surprise you when you combine your total affected revenue per hour and total labor cost per hour.

When you’re talking about replacing on-premise servers, you have to allot time for ordering, receiving, configuring AND installing the replacement. At this point you are looking at days or even weeks in some cases.

When your critical workload is in the cloud, that conversation goes from days and weeks, to seconds and minutes.

 

Not all cloud solutions are created equal but features like co-location redundancy and high availability can guarantee 99.999% uptime.

This leads us perfectly into next week’s episode where we unpack more in the realm of continuity. Be sure to join us next week to continue the conversation.


Cloud Considerations: Scalability
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Migrating from on-premise servers to the cloud comes with many considerations. While total virtualization is great for some, others may find that a hybrid approach of migrating just a portion of their operation to the cloud is a better fit.   We’ll be discussing this in bite sized pieces over the next several weeks. Starting with scalability.

This is one of the top selling points for business owners looking to make the leap to the cloud.

With traditional servers, maybe you’ve reached your maximum capacity but you’re hiring on two new team members, now all the sudden you realize those new team members come with the additional cost of a whole new server.

With that comes a lot of wasted space. Sure, you’ll have the ability to grow into that, but it is a leap of faith.

Whether you’re scaling in, out, up or down, the cloud provides the ability to do so instantly, without waste. This means you are always paying for what you actually need, not paying for what is to come.


How to Spot Vishing
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Beware of Voice Phishing—or “Vishing”—Calls


It is difficult to ignore a ringing telephone. While fraudulent emails and unwanted mail can be deleted or tossed in the trash, telephone calls are tougher to tune out. And because telephone calls are still considered a secure form of communication, voice phishing scams take advantage of consumers’ trust to steal money and personal information.

In voice phishing—or “vishing”—scams, callers impersonate legitimate companies to steal money and personal and financial information. And these scams are on the rise. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission reports that 77 percent of its fraud complaints involve contact with consumers by telephone.

Vishing calls are generally made via Voice over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”). Thousands or millions of VoIP calls can be made around the world in an instant. And because these calls are made over the Internet, they are nearly untraceable. Vishing scammers also use recordings and caller ID “spoofing” (falsifying caller ID information) to further avoid detection. Placing these calls is relatively inexpensive, so even a small fraction of responses can make the scam very lucrative.


Tips to Avoid Being a Victim of Vishing

  • When an unexpected caller (you did not initiate the communication) claims to represent a specific company, ask for his or her name or employee number and call the company back using an independent and trusted source, like your billing statement or the phone book. Do not call the number provided by the caller.
  • Avoid providing personal or financial information over the phone, especially if you did not initiate the call.
  • If someone claims you owe a debt, remember that both state and federal laws provide you certain rights when you are contacted by a debt collector, including the right to receive written verification of the debt.
  • Remember that in general, you cannot win a prize if you did not enter a contest.
  • If you are not sure about the legitimacy of a call, tell the caller you need time to think things over. Ask a friend or family member for their perspective, or conduct your own research by contacting the Amarillo Better Business Bureau at (806)379-6222 or www.bbb.org.
  • Don’t be afraid to hang up if something doesn’t seem right. If it sounds “too good to be true,” it probably is. Never give out your Social Security number or Medicare number to an unsolicited caller. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration will not call you to update your information or give you a new card. And remember that your Medicare number is the same as your Social Security number!

When in Doubt, Don't Give it Out

Scams and crooked deals are everywhere today, often where we least expect it. When you’re home answering the phone, browsing the Internet, checking the mail, or opening your door, scam artists and fraudulent operators look for ways to get your Social Security number and other private information. You can protect yourself in many situations by following one simple principle—if someone contacts you and claims to need your private information, think twice and remember: when in doubt, don’t give it out.


How to Spot Smishing
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Smishing – The fraudulent practice of sending text messages purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers. Smishing gets it’s name from combining the words “SMS” and “Phishing”.

Many times, a smishing attack will be portrayed as a bank or other source of personal information prompting you to follow a link using the same sense of urgency that other phishing methods use. An example would be a text message appearing to be from Wells Fargo reading, “Follow this link to confirm your $128 purchase.” Other times they may provide a fake incentive like, “Congratulations! You’ve won a 4 day cruise! Click here to claim your prize.”

Smishing can also be used as a follow-up to email impersonation. In some instances, the attack will start as someone impersonating a trusted source via email, asking for your cell phone number. They will then proceed via text message which is outside the protection of email security. Learn more about email impersonation here. 

To avoid falling victim to smishing attacks, always confirm the message’s legitimacy with the source that it claims to be from. If it shows to be from your bank, call your bank using a number from something reliable like a billing statement. It’s also important to remember that you can’t win a contest that you did not enter.


How to Spot Email Impersonation
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

What is email impersonation?

Email impersonation is a phishing tactic, commonly used to impersonate a trusted individual. Impersonation doesn’t always require “spoofing” (sending from a forged email address). With simple impersonation attempts, hackers can create an email account using the display name of an Executive or trusted advisor in your organization. This is also a sly way for hackers to avoid getting caught in an anti-spoofing filter.

An impersonation email may appear to be from “John Smith”, but if you look closer at the email address, you may find a generic domain name (ex. @gmail.com, @yahoo.com) or even a completely unrelated email address (ex. abc123@gmail.com).

In some instances, we have witnessed hackers using email impersonation with the goal of obtaining your cell phone number so they can continue their efforts in what’s known as “smishing” or SMS phishing. Smishing is when a hacker impersonates a trusted source to obtain sensitive information via text message. The hacker’s motive here is to conduct their attack outside of a secured environment such as email. Click here to learn more about smishing.

 

Shouldn't our email security catch these attacks?

Impersonation filters are much more complex in nature than anti-spoofing filters. There are more variables you must consider.

There are 5 unique identifiers that are indicators of impersonation. An example of an identifier would be email that includes the word “payment” or “bill”.

When configuring impersonation protection, you must decide how many of these identifiers an email has to hit before it is filtered. If you require all 5 identifiers to be hit, nearly all impersonation attempts will get through to your inbox. If you require just one hit, you will end up with an excess of false positives and fail to receive legitimate email. The right balance in configuration will vary based on the needs of an organization or industry.

Even when appropriately configured, impersonation protection is not perfect and may let through an occasional imposter.

 

What additional measures can be taken?

runbiz  now offers a feature that will flag any email that originates from outside of your organization. In many cases, these are legitimate emails, but if your boss or co-worker’s email is flagged, you will know that this is an impersonation attempt. Contact us to discuss which measures are most appropriate for your organization.

 

What should I do when I receive an impersonation email?

Simply delete the email. This does not mean that your co-worker or organization has been compromised. The hacker has simply used public information to try to trick you. If you notice impersonation emails getting through on a regular basis, inform your oversight. If necessary, they can then request that the impersonation filters be adjusted. 


Switching Audio Sources in Windows 10
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Many of the updates we are finding in Windows 10 are making common tasks more convenient and accessible. Switching from headphones, to headset, to external speakers has never been easier. In previous versions of Windows, switching audio sources required opening your control panel, but the task can now be completed on your desktop in your taskbar for added convenience.

 

To change audio sources:

  • Select the Sound icon in your taskbar
  • Select your desired audio output device

It’s as easy as that! We’ll continue next week in our series of Windows 10 tips and tricks.

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


Windows 10 Night Light
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

 

In recent #WebTipWednesday blogs, we have covered Windows 10 features that were designed to increase your efficiency. This week we look at a feature that’s designed to put you to sleep.. Excited yet?

 

It’s no secret that the blue light on your phone and computer screens will suppress your melatonin levels. This can disrupt your sleep/wake cycles and make it much harder to fall asleep at night. Windows 10 has developed a feature called “Night Light” for everyone burning the midnight oil. To enable Night Light,

 

  1. Open your start menu
  2. Type and select “Settings”
  3. Choose “Display”
  4. Under Night Light, toggle from off to on.

 

To edit your preferences, select “Night light settings”. Here you can manually enable Night Light, set your color temperature, and schedule your night light hours. 


Snip and Sketch: Windows 10
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

For all of you screen-shotters out there, I come bearing good news.  Our old friend Snipping Tool got a face lift! While the Snipping Tool is still available on PCs, intent is for the new Snip and Sketch to completely replace it. Let’s take a peek at some of the new features!

 

Now, when using your shortcut, Windows + Shift + S, you can select the specific portion of your screen you’d like to capture. Once you’ve got your screenshot, it’s automatically copied to your clipboard and available to paste.

                                                                                                    

To access the feature manually:

  • Click the start menu
  • Type “snip and sketch”
  • Select the "New" button to start snipping

 

Snip & Sketch also allows you to do all of the mark ups your heart desires.

 

You have the standard pen, pencil and highlighter mark-up tools. They’ve also included an eraser, a ruler to help with strait lines, and a cropping function to fine tune your parameters.

 

Finally, we have the new delay feature which allows you to snip with a 3 or 10 second delay. You may wonder how this is helpful. After all, it’s not like we’re taking selfies here. But the delay function is actually incredibly useful when trying to capture a popup menu that you have to hover over.

 

Overall, Windows has done a great job of modifying an already useful feature.

 

Happy snipping!


Clipboard Feature in Windows 10
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

We're continuing in our Windows 10 series by taking a look at the Clipboard feature. This tool is ideal when you are working on a project or document across multiple devices and want to copy something from your laptop, and paste it to your desktop.

  • Open your start menu
  • Select Settings
  • Select System
  • Open Clipboard Settings

Now enable “Sync across devices” to start copying data on one PC and pasting it on another PC.

Another feature of the Clipboard Function, Clipboard History. Enabling this will allow you to save multiple items to the clipboard for later use.

We’ll continue next week in our current series on Windows 10 specific tips and tricks.

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


Timeline Feature in Windows 10
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

If you’re anything like me, you might find yourself juggling a staggering number of projects at any given time. This can make for quite a challenge when you’re searching for that super important document from two days ago. And while we would all love to consider ourselves the most organized person in the office, sometimes our desktop doesn’t reflect that. That’s where Timeline comes in.

 

To access your timeline, simply press Windows + Tab key or click the Task View button in your Taskbar.

 

This gives you a timestamped view of the work you’ve been doing recently and allows you to pick up right where you left off. For example, let’s say you’re on the hunt for a Microsoft Excel file. Type “excel” into the search bar for a view of all of the recent spreadsheets you’ve had open. It’s a very simple concept, and one that can potentially save you a lot of time digging through your files.


How To Use Google Chrome's Accessibility Features
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Today we’re taking a look at the accessibility features that are offered in Google Chrome. If you’ve ever found your screen difficult to read, struggle with dyslexia, or have trouble seeing certain colors, chances are, google has developed an extension for you.

 

Here are the three of our favorites that are currently being offered:

 

High Contrast – Change or invert the color scheme to make webpages easier to read.

Color Enhancer - A customizable color filter applied to webpages to improve color perception.

Caret Browser – Browse the text of web pages using arrow keys.

 

Visit the Chrome Web Store for more accessibility extensions.   


How To Convert a PowerPoint Presentation to a Word Document
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

When giving a presentation, it’s common to give your audience handouts to go along with your agenda. Something that not many people realize is that rather than printing these out from Microsoft PowerPoint, you can export your presentation to Microsoft Word in just a few clicks. This allows you to take advantage of Microsoft Word’s robust formatting capabilities and add more in-depth information that couldn’t fit in your slides.

 

Instructions for Mac OS:

  1. Open your PowerPoint Presentation
  2. Select “File” from your menu bar
  3. Select “Export”
  4. Name your file and choose a location to store it
  5. Select “Rich Text Format (.rtf)” from the File Format drop-down menu
  6. Save your new .rtf document
  7. Right click on your .rtf document
  8. Open with Microsoft Word

 

Instructions for Windows 10:

  1. Open your PowerPoint Presentation
  2. Select “File” from your menu bar
  3. Select “Export”
  4. Select “Create Handouts”
  5. Select “Create Handouts in Microsoft Word”
  6. Choose a page layout for your handout
  7. Choose “Paste Link” if you would like your Word Document to automatically update as you are working on your PowerPoint Presentation. Choose “Paste” only if you would like your Word document to stay the same despite updates to your personation.

 

WHO IS RUNBIZ?

Run Business Solutions is an IT managed services and website services provider based in Amarillo, TX. We support small to mid-sized businesses both regionally and throughout the country. We pride ourselves on helping businesses leverage technology, not just tolerate it. Runbiz is focused on enthusiastically providing excellent technical strategy, services, and solutions that drive our customers' businesses forward. We are passionate about our mission to empower you to do what you do best.

To learn more about our approach to IT, visit our Managed IT or Co-Managed IT pages. If you are looking to revamp your website to look and perform better, visit our Website Services page for more information.

To speak directly to a member of our team, fill out the consultation form! We would love to learn more about your company, your technology needs, and how we can address the unique challenges you face.


Why Separate Accounts Need Separate Passwords
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Today we are talking about why your separate online accounts need to have unique passwords. If you take a second to think about it, you’ll realize that your personal information exists in many different places and platforms online. (Bank accounts, email, online shopping, etc.) With that, comes a considerable amount of risk. And while there is no full proof way to ensure that a breach on one of these platforms will never happen, there are ways to ensure that all other accounts with sensitive information are not left vulnerable. This is why it’s important to use different passwords for the different online platforms where your information exists.

 

 As we discussed in previous web tips, your passwords need to be long, unique, and hard to guess. We are fully aware that trying to remember 7 or 8 long, crazy passwords is unreasonable. The good news is that you don’t have to. Let the computer do the work for you! There are a lot of options for password management software out there that will generate secure, unique passwords, that you don’t have to remember; LastPass, Dashline, and Google Chrome’s built-in password manager to name a few. These password managers not only store your account passwords, they will generate random, secure passwords for you.

 

The importance is not so much on the tool you use to achieve this, but that you DO IT!


How To Customize Swipe Actions in Outlook Mobile App
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

 

In this #WebTipWednesday, we are taking a look at how you can keep your inbox organized while you’re on the go in the Microsoft Outlook Mobile app by setting custom swipe actions.

  1. Select your profile photo in the top left corner of the application
  2. Select the settings icon in the bottom left
  3. Select “Swipe Options”
  4. Choose “Swipe Right” or “Swipe Left” to assign an action to that swipe.

Swipe Actions include: Delete, Archive, Flag/Unflag, Mark Read/Unread, Move, Schedule, Read & Archive, None

When you are utilizing the swipe functions in your inbox, they can be undone by simply swiping a second time or selecting “Undo Delete”.

We hope this helps you stay on top of your emails while you’re on the go!


Cyber Security FAQs
Posted By: Ryan Richardson

Cyber Security FAQs with Drew Terrell, Runbiz President

 

Cyber-crime is on the rise and continually evolving.  Runbiz President, Drew Terrell, recently had an opportunity to address FAQs regarding this growing epidemic. 


What do business owners need to know about the current state of cyber-crime?

DT: It’s big business. The FBI says that it’s a $3 trillion industry this year and is estimated to rise to $6 trillion by 2021. Because of this, it has become very sophisticated. Attacks aren’t always easy to spot. People in our area are being targeted. Being in Amarillo, Tx doesn’t make you anonymous. People are using Facebook, Twitter, your website, and LinkedIn to socially engineer targets specific to a user inside of an organization.

 

How likely is it that my organization will be targeted?

DT: When we talk to people about this, it’s no longer an issue of if it’s going to happen, it’s an issue of when it’s going to happen. You have to be prepared and vigilant, doing the best you can. Then, unfortunately, deal with the fallout.

 

How do get rid of malware and prevent it in the future?

DT: It has to do with the type of infection or compromise you have. There are some good tools out there that will detect and help you remove malware, in some cases. In other cases, such as encryption, the only way to get rid of it is to restore from backup. When you think about how to best protect yourself, we deploy a three-pronged approach.

The first thing to consider is good user education. This stuff primarily comes from email and prays on people’s willingness to trust, so educating people on what they’re looking for is key. For example: Never put your password on the internet for any reason.

The second prong is adapting good tools. Most people are familiar with anti-virus, but now there are anti-phishing filters and other more sophisticated tools that will help you from making a mistake.

The final piece is business continuity. We used to think in terms of disaster recovery; fires, floods, tornados and things of that nature. These are no longer your biggest risk. Your biggest risk is cyber security. You need a plan in place that will help you recover from something like this in a matter of minutes or hours, not days.